Dilma Rousseff
Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff. Reuters

BBC News reported on Wednesday that Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff defended her government’s management of World Cup preparations during a dinner at the presidential residence for international journalists, calling much-criticized delays on a plethora of infrastructure projects were “the cost of our democracy” and saying that those projects were intended to be kick-started by the Cup but not finished in time for it. "Everywhere in the world these big engineering projects always go down to the wire," Rousseff said. "Nobody does a (subway) in two years. Well, maybe China.”

Much of the Brazilian public -- such fans of the sport, and so keen on hosting the World Cup when its location was first announced -- has since soured on it, with 61 percent saying they thought funding for the event should go toward schools, healthcare and other public services instead. Corruption in infrastructure projects has been a national embarrassment (the Washington Post cites a construction consortium who charged the government $1.5 million for transportation costs initially estimated at $4,200). The new stadium set to host the opening ceremonies in Sao Paolo is far from finished. And some fear that protests could disrupt the games – or that security forces’ attempt to crack down on them could turn ugly.

Reuters notes that in a speech on Saturday, Rousseff also responded in indirect fashion to Brazilian star Ronaldo, who earlier had proclaimed his “embarrassment … on behalf of the population that really expected these large investments … promised and not delivered” and opined that while “protests [were] always valid,” police needed to “bring out the clubs” on masked anarchists who had sometimes joined demonstrators’ ranks and committed acts of property destruction. The president said she was " sure that our country will put on the Cup of Cups," adding, "I am proud of our accomplishments. We have no reason to be ashamed and we don't have an inferiority complex."

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